Contract With Merit Pay, Backed by Union Chiefs, Is Tough Sell for Newark Teachers

By Kate Zernike

NEWARK — On one side of the table was the union firebrand Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. On the other was the state education commissioner handpicked by Gov. Chris Christie, who became a star among fellow Republicans for aggressively taking on public employee unions.

During months of intense and late-night negotiations for a new teachers contract for the chronically troubled Newark school system, the parties settled on what they believed would be a landmark compromise.

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